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Last Visit 2018-07-20 13:50:56 |Start Date 2004-08-23 03:24:14 |Comments 2,268 |Entries 803 |Images 808 |Sounds 1 |Videos 53 |Mobl 36 |

Category: random

01/29/11 10:15 - 22.ºF - ID#53509

The first Hoopty

My favorite television program, my can’t miss, never get sick of it show is “Top Gear.” I never miss it, discovered courtesy BBC America a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. The next season of new episodes returns on February 7th and to celebrate that and my birthday on the 8th (although I suspect more likely the former), the producers put out a call for first car stories on the Top Gear website. to tell your tale of automotive woe.

Presenting mine:


Gruesome, isn’t it. That isn’t the exact car. Mine was black and and the black paint job couldn’t cover up for what a bad idea this was. When I picked up the car, the radio was the easiest thing to fix. When I got rid of the car 16 months later, it was the best part of the car. In the intervening months, I believe it was trying to kill me.

Ford had a good thing going with the mustang, but the 70s were not the best of times for that brand. With an alarmingly regularity, various parts of the car daisy-changed their ineffectiveness to rob me of sanity and spare change. While both my judgement and Mustangs in general have righted themselves, I think it took experience for both of us. The car had a thing. It didn’t like Maple Road to get me to my bookstore job, always hitting the red light by UB, all the better for the 4 cylinders of the engine to scream in pain and torture as the car made it up the hill. The patch of ice that sent me for a 100 foot or so skid on Sheridan Drive. The seat that lost its latch while I was driving, while my Mom was in the car. Yes, kids, the days before Carfax were not pretty ones. In between those incidents was a steady display of mechanical revolt, a impressive daisy chain of automotive uprising. I was almost a believer that FORD did at one time stand for FOUND ON ROAD DEAD. At the time, it was a 50/50 split on whether that would be the car or me. Since those days, we’ve both smartened up. The mustang still intrigues me. It looks more like it should, back closer to Carroll Shelby instead of Carroll O’Connor.

In the meantime, my current GM product is sailing along just fine, finally got it some dry pavement to go on here on the ice planet Hoth, and it went like a puppy on a romp in the park. But I think about that car periodically as one of my colleagues at the Zoo has a black mustang (a proper one), a bad idea wrapped in a decent paint job. When a vehicle’s main attribute is looking cool in the windows of Casey’s Nickelodeon (where Talking Leaves is now), that should be a problem.

Lord knows the Mustang thought so.
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Permalink: The_first_Hoopty.html
Words: 502
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/29/11 10:15

Category: weather

01/28/11 01:20 - 27.ºF - ID#53504

The Blizzard of 77

Sure, it stunk getting into work this morning, then I got the reminder about this lovely storm from somebody who had the termerity to not be alive when it hit. 34 years ago today, I got a whiff of capitalism. Neighbors went to Florida two days before and hired me to shovel their driveway while they were away, figuring they’d pay me for a couple of passes. Can you say eight?? My best childhood chum and I went on a record purchasing bender at National Record Mart with our proceeds.

Till that storm, helping my dad with the snow removal largely consisted of staying out of the way while he ran our behemoth of a snow blower. Mom would say “perhaps you should help your dad.” I could sincerely reply “I am” while watching tv. This made sense as the snowblower was a big one and the last thing you needed while running it was somebody else “helping” at one end of the driveway.


This was mammoth snow and the blowing made things impressive until you had to move them. My childhood home had such an odd shape that a roughly eight foot wall formed outside the back door, but left enough of a canal to the garage that we could make it to the garage to access our “Battery of snow-fighting equipment.” It was a rare occurence as usually helping my Dad clear the driveway meant staying out of the line of fire (and usually inside), but I think even my brother was party of the relocation of the driveway campaign.


The winds made it a multiple day chore, but by the time the worst was over, I was an ace snowblower pilot and using that on those Florida bound neighbors, who are still stuck listening to everybody else’s Blizzard tales.

My longtime partner and crime used the almost two weeks off from school on some arctic architectural pursuits, constructing a snow fort still legendary in its expanse, two floors, complete with slide to get from the balcony level down to the mezzanine.

Even the neighborhood bully was impressed

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Permalink: The_Blizzard_of_77.html
Words: 358
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/28/11 01:29

Category: work

01/20/11 01:43 - 20.ºF - ID#53459

The Rubber Chicken circuit

I embark on my least favorite aspects of my job at a reception this evening. The business development or sponsorship stuff falls to me and that is okay, I can fake sincerity with the best of them. I'm pretty good at it, but that sort of thing can be exhausting.

There is a raft of networking events here and I guess that is good, but seeing the facebook note about me being an "Executive to Connect" with makes me laugh.

Those of us with that distinction have to man a table and wait for people who attended come and network, hopefully become a sponsor or something like that.

The whole exercise reminds of those personal ads on late night tv, the phone services and what not. I'm thinking I should start one to encourage partnerships.

"Hi, I'm Mike and you want my public. People came to me over 400,000 times last year and signed up for more. You need my marketing demographic, you crave their power, you want them to scream your name. Come by, say hi, meet my people (eye wink, light glistening off tease.) Thousands play with our animals, shouldn't you."

Well maybe not, but it is easy for your mind to go out for a long walk when some carpeting salesman is telling you how hard it is to sell fiber based padding in these market conditions.

Hopefully, stuff comes from it that makes it worth it, but by the 12th or 13th commemorative pen, I'll be thinking about getting home in time for the Office.

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Permalink: The_Rubber_Chicken_circuit.html
Words: 258
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/20/11 01:43


01/13/11 02:36 - 18.ºF - ID#53432

Joy Division

“A female Jewish democratic congresswo­man representi­ng a conservati­ve district was saved by a gay Latino male rushing toward bullets. Meanwhile, the gunman was disarmed by a woman who’d already been shot by the gunman while a guy who was there and armed was deciding whether or not to use his handgun for defense. I believe some stereotype­s have been shattered here.”

You would hope. While the events in Tucson over the weekend resulted in a lot of theme music and serious graphics, you also hope the dialogue gets a little more civil. Normally, a social media junkie, I turned away a bit as the postings got more raw and bitter.

Immediately, linguistic finger pointing and politicizing seemed to become the order of the day. The forums have quickly denigrated into a liberal Dems vs. arch con republican bashing.

There are ways to be a person and the folks around Congresswoman Gifford showed that. Here’s hoping those with microphones, jargon laden websites, and airtime do the same. It says something about the human condition that we didn’t have any outrage about that stuff till now. A social media forum tonight showed me inroads these dialogues are making, which I still believe to be a good thing. But I remember when the attempt on President Reagan’s life happened. It was a “everybody’s concerned” atmosphere. The public air seemed devoid out any rancor, just concern that the President was alright and by extension the country was okay. It’s okay to disagree, in fact, we’re supposed to, but we are supposed to be able to talk it out.

That is troubling for all the obvious reasons. Hopefully, the calls to quiet the metaphors will be heeded.
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Permalink: Joy_Division.html
Words: 293
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/13/11 02:36

Category: sports

01/03/11 05:52 - 30.ºF - ID#53388

Blaming Canada

The World Juniors Hockey Tourney formally kicked off last Sunday at the arena. I spent the the bulk of the week camped at sections 305-306 for the day.

And I’m glad I have the next day off. Overall, it was an entertaining experience. One actual brawl between a quartet of ugly americans over seats was thankfully ended before anybody got hurt. It did take a little bit for my nerves to resume normal operations. This aging usher isn’t crazy about that sort of fun when I’m outnumbered by a bunch of guys hellbent on proving how tough they are. Thankfully for swift security response, I could employ my older brother’s floor hockey technique of avoiding the actual action, but looking busy at the same time.

That was to start my third game of the day, the eventual US victory over Finland. Understand, this is basically a big Canadian party and much of the crowd was left over from Canada’s win over Russia (that was the best game of the day.). The building was jammed and energized and felt like a hockey game. I got a feeling we were looking at the two best teams. The first game of the day was between Switzerland and Germany and was played to a roughly half full arena. Some of the crowd was actually there for that, others were there to check their sightlines for the Canadian/Russian battle at 4.

I don’t know if the Bills games had anything to do with it, or if the Fins aren’t a big name opponent, but it was a little off to see the USA playing in prime time on National television in both the US and Canada (and presumably Finland) and the place wasn’t entirely full. If you are in to hockey at all and have the post Christmas means, I’d recommend checking it out. For the same reason college basketball is more fun than the pros, these young bucks move. International rules means fewer offsides, no fights, arguments get broken up quick, so the game really does move along.

And even the trash talk is mostly good natured, one of the canadian partisans invented the fried bologna/pretzel sandwich at the concession stand and stood eating that gastrointestinal miracle while explaining how if Finland beat the US, that would be good for the tourney. That bit of barstool philosophy was impossible to be an audience to without laughing.
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Permalink: Blaming_Canada.html
Words: 412
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/03/11 05:52



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paul said to mike
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i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...

mike said to paul
i'm glad you documented this. I was actually looking for a picture but came across this and am glad ...